Monday, December 05, 2011

Love Letters at Gooski's - a recap

Over the past couple of years, gigs have turned into dicey events for me and my psyche. The smallest thing can set me off, from a lack of caffeine prior to a show to the size of the audience to the amount of attention the audience pays to us. At the same time, if five people come to a show that I didn't expect, and/or if a few members of the audience laugh at our banter or whoop their heads off between songs, that can be all I need to have a great time.

I'm saying this because the planets aligned Saturday night at Gooski's. Arrival was easy (another factor in my mood). By 10:00, the bar was jammed with people, both in the back room where the bands play, and up front.

City Steps went on first, not too long after a constable showed up and served their frontman with papers. It sucks that he's getting sued, but I was almost relived that he wasn't carted out of there in cuffs. (Don't laugh - it's happened at Gooski's before, albeit at the end of the night as a set was winding down.) They really have a Belle & Sebastian vibe going on, but that could be because Michael happens to write catchy songs that follow the same sort of melodic path as that Scottish act. Having Bill and Kate, formerly of the Hi-Frequencies, in the band and adding a '60s vibe doesn't hurt either. They played for almost exactly 30 minutes, which was a little brief for me. Always leave them wanting more, I guess. And considering that I was worried about them going on at 10:30 rather than earlier, it meant things were right on time.

Neighbours were next, all tight Mod-pop in their sweaters. Keyboardist/singer Mike (there was a pattern here) had a Steelers sweater on, but it was still kind of in keeping with the theme. It's great hearing a band that's so incredibly tight, and clearly listening to each other to make sure things sound so cohesive. The sound was a little muddy, but it didn't matter. It felt great.

Then we Love Letters went on. Earlier in the evening, my paranoid side almost got the best of me, worrying that everyone except our close friends would leave before we got on. Not the case. In fact at least one friend from work showed up after checking out the Beagle Brothers at their show about five minutes away, at Sonny's. We were pretty well rehearsed for this show, and I think it gave us confidence. Sure there were a few flubs here and there, but when you're playing a song that alternates between 5/4 and 6/8, it's impressive enough that you attempt it. Especially when it's a deep cut Monkees song ("As We Go Along"). Erin, our drummer, sings the tune, which requires a good set of pipes, and she definitely has them. Since drums are really minor in the song, she came out front to sing it and only went back for the coda, which kicks it up to a dramatic level.

My other setback with playing last is that I try not to drink, or not drink too much, before we play because my hooch of choice kills what little vocal range I have. I was good and had just one before we started. And to lube the vocal chords a bit, I bought a shot of Irish whiskey before we went on. AND I SIPPED IT. Say what you like, but I enjoy sipping shots because you can appreciate them that way. I learned that from my friend Rob, who came out for the show, and heard us do one of his songs.

So good times, good set list, good bands. Now I'm yearning to do it again.

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